Evidence for regulated expression of neuropeptide Y gene by rat and human cultured astrocytes

Ayalla Barnea*, Nelson Aguila-Mansilla, Eileen H. Bigio, Worby Carolyn Worby, Jodie Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


A series of studies from our laboratory have established that fetal rat and human neuropeptide Y (NPY) cortical neurons in aggregate cultures are differentially regulated. In a preliminary study we found that primary astrocytes produce substantial amounts of immunoreactive (IR) NPY. We addressed the question: Is astrocyte production of NPY-IR a regulated process? The effects of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF, 50 ng/ml), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), substance P (1 μM), forskolin (10 μM), or phorbol 12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA, 20 nM) on NPY-IR production was tested on rat and human primary astrocyte cultures. Of these agents, PMA and bFGF markedly induced NPY-IR production by rat as well as human astrocytes, forskolin induced NPY-IR production by human but not rat astrocytes, and neither BDNF nor substance P induced NPY-IR production by rat or human astrocytes. The molecular size of PMA-induced NPY-IR was found to be consistent with that of proNPY. Moreover, PMA induced the accumulation of mRNA corresponding in size to the neuronal NPY-mRNA. Immunocytochemical analysis of human post-mortem neocortex revealed co-existence of NPY-IR with astrocyte markers. These results indicate that cultured astrocytes express NPY gene in a regulated manner and they support our proposition that in situ reactive astrocytes may express NPY gene under some physiological/pathological conditions. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalRegulatory Peptides
StatePublished - Sep 25 1998


  • Basic fibroblast growth factor
  • Brain derived neurotrophic factor
  • Forskolin
  • Neurons
  • Phorbol ester
  • Substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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